Worth so much more than his name implies

Portrait of the artist as a young man

Portrait of the artist as a young man

2009 is shaping up to be a good year for Buck 65. He is set to appear at the upcoming SXSW festival. His remix on 4AD’s Dark Was the Night compilation not only introduces his lyrical prowess to an audience that might not have listened otherwise, but also just kicks straight-up ass. If it all goes smoothly, he might be tempted to take a break from his self-described dream gig as a radio host and perform more live shows in the states.

But let’s back up for a bit – I didn’t know who Buck 65 was until the compilation came out, either. On the surface, I know his real name is Ricardo Terfry. He comes from the Nova Scotia area of the Great North (on a side note, it’s been a great year so far for musical Canucks, hasn’t it?), and he is often compared to and collaborates with Sage Francis. But I think I already kind of love him. Might I be too hasty in this declaration? It’s possible but doubtful. Basically, Buck 65 does all the actions that I think a fledgling working artist needs to do in order to keep his work alive and in your consciousness regardless of whether or not you like it.

In 2008, Buck 65 embarked on a mission to release three hours of music on his own. The result of his labors was “made at home with crappy gear and mixed in headphones that are 15 years old and were never very good in the first place,” by his own admission. The three-part album is called Dirtbike, and the extent of time and ingenuity spent on the project is evident in just the first minute you hear of sound samples and audible jerks of the turntable. But the most poignant aspect of Dirtbike is not the homegrown means of its production or the grandiose size, but its distribution. Buck 65 offers the whole thing uncut as a free download through his website. All you need to do is visit this link, enter your email address, and bask in three hours of free, inventive hip hop. This is remarkable to me. And did I mention that his song on Dark Was the Night is amazing? I might say something hopeful about future music from Buck 65, but without knowing him personally, I can say with a hefty degree of certainty that there will be future kick-ass sounds from him.

  • Buck 65 featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti ~ Dark Was the Night: Benefitting the Red Hot Organization ~ 4AD

Blood Pt. 2


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